Freedom to feel good
This fitness buff is setting people free from stress and poor health
LIBBY Babet radiates energy. The fitness entrepreneur and former journalist isn’t a household name yet, but she will be when The Biggest Loser: Transformed debuts on our screens.
Ten has given the weight-loss show a total makeover. There will be just two trainers, Libby and series original Shannan Ponton, a more mobile group of contestants who are overweight or obese rather than morbidly obese, and a wider focus on mental health and nutrition as well as exercise.
Some have dubbed Libby the new Michelle Bridges, but I don’t think the comparison is fair. Her personality and training style are miles away from Bridges and she comes from a very different background.
Raised on the Sunshine Coast, Libby started work as a journalist at the Sunshine Coast Daily before moving to Brisbane with The Courier-Mail and eventually Sydney to work in magazines as a health journalist.
She then carved out her own space in the highly competitive fitness world by founding two businesses. One is Australia’s first “entertrainment’’ group the BUF Girls and athletic performance studio AGOGA.
Libby is also the co-founder of Chief Bar, a natural whole food protein bar, and has a strong social media presence including more than 16,000 Instagram followers.
Taking a break from her busy schedule filming for The Biggest Loser: Transformed in Sydney, Libby shares her new year fitness trends with Weekend.
What are you expecting to be the big fitness trends of 2017?
What I’m really loving about fitness at the moment is the swing towards working out and eating well not just because you want a better physical body, but as a wellbeing tool. Exercise gives you an emotional pick-me-up, helps with mental sharpness and busting stress, gets you outside connecting with nature and increases fun social interactions, giving you an incredible way to connect with family and friends. Other trends on the cards for 2017 are an increased focus on functional small group training, as well as a swing back towards smart and effective full-body circuits that have your body moving through multiple movement patterns and planes/degrees of motion, rather than isolated body part training. Of course there’s also the big upswing in super smart, wearable tech which is such a simple way to track your improvement, set up new habits and make sure you’re moving enough every day, as well as being a whole lot of fun and giving you that little hit of instant gratification when you tick off your movement goal for the day. I’ve tried them all and find them so motivating. I’m currently obsessed with the Apple Watch 2.
What’s the first step for people who want to start on their fitness resolutions?
Get a fitness tracker or pedometer and make sure you’re getting 10k steps a day. If you find that easy, up it to 12k. When you’re walking enough and eating well, that’s enough to get you in pretty good health. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, have a look for group training facilities close to your house, whether it’s a boot camp or indoor studio, from circuits to cycling. Trust me, it’s so much easier to just show up, socialise and do the workout the trainer prescribes with 20 other people in the room sweating up a storm than it is walking in to a random big gym and thinking, “What the heck should I do today?”. If there are no handy group training gyms near you, head online and sign up for a fitness program you can do from home, or at your local big gym. There are so many out there, for all sorts of people. Girls can train with me at bufgirls.com (try our foundation program BUF Body) and for the guys, there’s AthleanX or Daily Burn, plus so many others. All you’ve got to do is jump on to Google and start exploring.
How important is diet in reaching and maintaining fitness goals?
Nutrition is everything. I have a really easy principle for nailing it, too. If you imagine a dinner plate, for each meal split it into four quarters. Fill at least two of those quarters with green and colourful vegetables or salad, another quarter with good quality protein like meat, fish, eggs, or a vegetarian protein source like tempeh or quinoa, then fill the final quarter with some slow, whole carbs like a piece of sourdough bread, starchy vegetables like sweet potato or pumpkin, a little rice or buckwheat, whatever you love. Then as the cherry on top, add a thumb-sized portion of healthy fats like butter, nuts and seeds, olive oil, tahini, or a quarter avocado. Simple. I use this rule for breakfast too, because I’m not a big believer in the whole “cereal and milk’’ thing – unless it’s basic oats and in-season berries.
What are your tips for not falling off the fitness bandwagon?
Keep this thought in mind and you’ll keep getting back on that bandwagon: moving your body and eating well are just like showering or brushing your teeth – stop doing them for more than a few days and they stop working. Keep your body and mind fresh and in optimum condition by focusing on doing something active and filling up on nutrients every single day. You don’t have to be obsessive, you just have to be consistent.
What’s the one thing you would recommend to everyone when it comes to healthy living?
Have a healthy attitude towards healthy living. Make it a priority so you feel great and are the best version of you possible, but don’t obsess about eating “perfectly’’ or exercising like a demon. Let food be your medicine and fitness be your fun time. Oh and if you’re feeling unmotivated? Download a new playlist to fuel your session – works every time.
Biggest Loser: Transformed is coming soon to Ten.
Don’t obsess about eating ‘perfectly’ or exercising like a demon. Let food be your medicine and fitness be your fun time.
Libby Babet will appear as a personal trainer on the upcoming new series The Biggest Loser: Transformed.